雁屋哲の今日もまた

2008-12-20

Lady Davidson Hospital

Let me introduce “Lady Davidson Hospital”, the place where I have been going to for my rehabilitation since March.

It is situated 45minutes drive from the city in North Turramarra, surrounded by a very quiet and pleasant environment. Only 5 minutes from the hospital and you are at the entrance of the Kuringai National Park.

The hospital ground is vast. Amongst this vast area stands the flat building of the rehabilitation hospital.

The entrance of the hospital

I have never heard of such a specialized hospital like this in Japan.
Once those patients who have undergone orthopedic surgery are able to commence rehabilitation, they are transferred to this hospital to have intensive physiotherapy. There are many rooms for such patients, with specialist physicians on site. It appears that most patients are hospital inpatients rather than outpatients like myself.

This is the reception with the receptionist, Caroll.

Carroll

Like all other staff at this hospital, Caroll is very caring and have helped me to schedule all my physio sessions.

Patients who attend this clinic are those who have had some kind of surgery, or those with reduced motor functions. So naturally, most are aged people. Very occasionally a young person comes after being involved in an accident. Even though I myself categorize amongst the aged, seeing someone young gave me a kind of relief.

This is inside the gym.
In the center there is an office space where the physiotherapists keep detailed record of each patient. This record keeping alone is a big job.

The office booth in the gym

To the left of the office booth are beds where the patients get their physio treatments.

Beds1 Beds2

Behind the booth are a variety of exercise machines.

Machines1 Machines2

On the right there are bars used for walking exercises.

Bars1 Bars2

When I first grabbed these bars to practice walking, I was afraid of touching my toes to the ground. I guess I have made progress since then.

The physiotherapists at this hospital are mostly all young women in their twenties.
The one who took care of me is Sarah.

Sarah1 Sarah2

Sarah is brilliant. She is very skilled and came up with different programs according to my progress and recovery.
After my operation on March 18th, I had to start my rehabilitation straight away. The post-op pain however was so incredible, that it seemed impossible to do anything.
I am by nature a faint-hearted man, and feared to do any rehab work in this state of great pain. So I backed away from everything, and preferred to do nothing if I could.

But Sarah, she wouldn’t let me off.
Even when I say “What? I can’t possibly do that!”
“Yes you can, you’ll be fine” Sarah would cheer me on to do the exercises. And she would make me do them, adding a little bit more to do every time I went.
So I decided to take on the challenge and prove that I was a man. To cower was to shame all Japanese men and the Samurai spirit.
I clenched my teeth and followed Sarah’s instructions.
She would see my face distorted in agony and desperation and say “Smile, smile!” so I smiled. How could I not.

The most difficult exercise was to flex my knee.
My surgeon threatened me that if I couldn’t get it to 90 degrees, he would have to knock me out and bend it by force. He was confident with the outcome of the surgery and told Sarah to apply as much pressure as she liked to flex my knee. To the surgeon’s encouragement, Sarah brought out a motorized gadget and would try to bend my leg with every effort. She would push my leg with all her strength until my knee bent no further and measure the angle. When the day came as Sarah pushing against my leg spoke out in joy “we’ve reached 90 degrees!”, I felt I had finally gone over one peak towards my recovery.
Sarah encouraged me through each step and did the most she could as a physiotherapist. If it were not for her dedicated guidance, I would not have made such remarkable recovery.
Sarah is a wonderful physiotherapist, and I am grateful of everything she has done for me.

Apart from Sarah, there was Elise who was in charge of leg muscle training.

Elise

When I first heard her name, I immediately thought of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”. I asked her about it and sure enough her parents had named her after that exact piece. “I can play Fur Elise too”, she added.
She was a very sincere and cheerful girl. She would pay great detail to putting together my exercise routines.
One week I realized she was wearing a very impressive ring on her finger. “I got engaged on the weekend”, she told me very happily with a glowing blush. She was very pleased when I said “what a lucky man who gets to marry such a wonderful woman!”

This is a photo of Elise with Sarah.

Elise and Sarah

This is Claudia, who was also in charge of the exercises. Very bright and happy, she would lift everyone’s spirits. You can see that when you look at this photo

Claudia1 Claudia2

She loves chocolates and always snacked on chocolates during her breaks. This is Claudia with Elise, munching on her chocolate as she complains of putting on weight due to her sweet addiction.

Claudia with Elise

Hydrotherapy was one of the main components of the rehabilitation. The instructor in the pool was Skye.

Skye1 Skye2

Now that I’m familiar with hydrotherapy, I can take myself through it, however initially I had no clue of what to do, so Skye taught me everything. She was good at picking up on little things and was very kind and caring. She was of great help.

At first I couldn’t get into the pool by myself. I needed to sit in a special chair that lowered me into the pool. This was managed with the help of Prany who maneuvered the machinery. And even little things as checking to see if the change room was free for me.(She said to me her real name was “P-ra-ni-ti” in Hindu language. It means “Sincerity” or “Truth”.

Prany1 Prany2

I have now completed the physiotherapy program. I still go and use the pool for hydrotherapy but without any assistance. The only sad thing is that I no longer see Sarah, Elise, Claudia, Skye and Prany.

They are all superb physiotherapists, and just great people.
They are the sole reason why I managed to go through the tough rehabilitation and make my recovery. It was tough, really tough. But meeting those girls was a blessing.
The work they do, it gives hope to many people – especially to the old ones.
And when they are at work, they are beaming with beauty.
To them I give my sincere gratitude.

Lady Davidson Hospital.
A truly wonderful hospital.

(Please click on the photos, and they will enlarge.)

雁屋 哲

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